PUBLISHED: 14:24, Tue, Nov 17, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:25, Tue, Nov 17, 2020
The latest research has revealed the mineral zircon is apparently abundant on the surface of Earth’s nearest neighbour, Mars. University of Copenhagen scientists arrived at their startling conclusion after analysing the age and isotope composition of zircons. They also found a significant proportion of these crystals originated from Mars’ core.
If correct, this may revolutionise our understanding of the Red Planet’s internal structure and its evolution.
We were quite surprised and excited when we found so many zircons in this Martian meteorite
Professor Martin Bizzarro
The uranium-bearing mineral zircon is also abundant in our planet’s continental crust.
The mineral’s presence is helpful in measuring geological features from shifting continents to volcanic eruptions.
However, unlike Earth's surface, the Martian crust instead resembles that found on our ocean floor, where zircon is rare.
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Mars' desolate surface has been exposed as having a surprising chemical composition (Image: University of Copenhagen/Getty)
An upwelling plume of primitive material rises from the deep mantle, feeding a volcanoes at the planet’s surface (Image: University of Copenhagen )
As a result, zircon was not expected to be a common mineral on Mars.
Professor Martin Bizzarro from the GLOBE Institute, who led the study, said: “We were quite surprised and excited when we found so many zircons in this Martian meteorite.
“Zircon are incredibly durable crystals that can be dated and preserve information that tell us about their origins.
“Having access to so many zircons is like opening a time window into the geologic history of the planet.”